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Master strategist John Unitas put up numbers for the ages.

John Unitas 1933 - 2002

October 20, 2002|By SOURCES: WWW.UNITASMANAGEMENT.COM, NFL, CRAIG KELLEY, TERRY MUSOLF

No. 1 then ...

When Unitas retired after the 1973 season, he topped the quarterback charts.

Attempts Totals

1. UNITAS ............................ 5,186

2. John Brodie....................... 4,491

3. Fran Tarkenton ................. 4,449

Completions Totals

1. UNITAS ........................... 2,830

2. John Brodie ..................... 2,469

3. Fran Tarkenton ................ 2,459

Yards Totals

1. UNITAS ......................... 40,239

2. Fran Tarkenton ............. 33,248

3. John Brodie .................. 31,548

TD passes Totals

1. UNITAS ........................... 290

2. Fran Tarkenton ............... 249

3. Sonny Jurgensen ............ 244

Where he stands now

Attempts Totals

1. Dan Marino ................... 8,358

2. John Elway ................... 7,250

3. Warren Moon ................ 6,823

11. UNITAS ...................... 5,186

Completions Totals

1. Dan Marino .................. 4,967

2. John Elway .................. 4,123

3. Warren Moon .............. 3,988

15. UNITAS .................... 2,830

Yards Totals

1. Dan Marino ................ 61,361

2. John Elway ................ 51,475

3. Warren Moon .............. 49,325

8. UNITAS ....................... 40,239

TD passes Totals

1. Dan Marino ...................... 420

2. Fran Tarkenton ................ 342

3. Brett Favre* ..................... 301

5. UNITAS ............................ 290

* - Active

A streak made to last

Unitas' most enduring record is his 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. No one else has come close. The top five streaks:

Unitas .......................... 1956 - 60 -- 47

Dan Marino .................. 1985 - 87 -- 30

Dave Krieg ................... 1983 - 85 -- 28

Chris Chandler ............. 1997 - 99 -- 27

Peyton Manning ........... 1998 - 99 -- 27

Long-distance calls

Receivers who caught the longest touchdown passes from Unitas:

Receiver ....................... Opponent ..................... Date ................... Yards

John Mackey .............. at Los Angeles ............ Oct. 30 1966 ..............89

Tom Matte ................... vs. Atlanta .................. Sept. 17, 1967 ...........88

John Mackey .............. at Minnesota ................ Sept. 18, 1966 ..........83

Lenny Moore ...............at San Francisco ..........Dec. 8, 1957...............82

Lenny Moore ...............vs. Detroit .....................Dec. 4, 1960 ..............80

Jimmy Orr ....................at Chicago ....................Oct. 21,1962 ..............80

Lenny Moore ...............vs. Minnesota ................Dec. 16,1962 ............80

Favorite Colts connections

Receivers who caught the most touchdown passes from Unitas:

Raymond Berry -- 63

Lenny Moore -- 43

Jimmy Orr -- 41

John Mackey -- 32

Jim Mutscheller -- 31

Hitting 300

Unitas threw for 300 yards in a game 27 times, including the 1958 NFL title game.

Year ...................... 300-yd games

1956 ..................................1

1957 ..................................0

1958 ..................................1

1959 ..................................2

1960 ..................................4

1961 ..................................2

1962 ..................................2

1963 ..................................4

1964 ..................................0

1965 ..................................3

1966 ..................................2

1967 ..................................3

1968 ..................................0

1969 ..................................2

1970 ..................................0

1971 ..................................0

1972 ..................................1

1973 ..................................0

Awards and accolades

* Selected NFL MVP / Player of the Year in 1957, 1959, 1964, 1967

* Named Player of the Decade for the 1960s.

* Named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team.

* Had three seasons passing for 3,000 yards or more.

* Threw TD passes in record 47 consecutive games.

* Led league in touchdown passes four consecutive years (NFL record).

* Led league in passing yardage four times.

* Totaled 17 games with at least four touchdown passes (No. 2 all time behind Dan Marino with 21).

Chronology

May 7, 1933

Born in Pittsburgh.

Spring 1955

Drafted in the ninth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers after completing his career at the University of Louisville.

Fall 1955

After being cut by the Steelers, plays with a semipro team in Pittsburgh for $6 a game.

Spring 1956

Signs with the Baltimore Colts for $7,000.

Dec. 28, 1958

Leads the Colts over the New York Giants, 23-17 in overtime, for the NFL championship in what came to be called "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

Dec. 27, 1959

Quarterbacks the Colts to a second straight NFL title game victory over the Giants, 31-16.

Dec. 11, 1960

NFL-record streak of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass ends at Los Angeles.

Sept. 18, 1966

Throws four touchdown passes, giving him 212 for his career, to surpass Y.A. Tittle as the NFL's all-time leader.

Oct. 30, 1966

Throws for 252 yards to pass Tittle (28,339 yards) as the NFL's all-time passing yards leader.

Jan. 17, 1971

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